I love words.
My favorite subject throughout elementary, junior high and high school was English. My favorite part of English was writing.
In High School, I took a creative writing class and loved it. It was fun to figure out interesting ways of putting words together, and even though I was painfully shy and preferred that no one pay much attention to me and my big feet and frizzy hair, I loved it when the teacher chose my work to be read aloud in class.
College brought more writing classes and I began to think about writing books. I practiced writing--poems, short stories and sample chapters.
Four years ago, my family gave me a birthday present they knew I was longing for--an online writing class with a focus on getting published. I felt confident that this was what was going to be the spark. I began writing with focus. I wanted to be published. At the same time that I took the class, my youngest child started school. I knew if I was ever going to do this, this was the time to give it a real honest effort. I started writing children's books as I watched and even prayed for ideas for a good novel.
An idea came and I began writing "For What It's Worth," a story with a main character I liked and related to. But then I stalled and didn't know exactly where to take it, so I continued working on class assignments, short stories, and children's books.
Then one night, our neighbors experienced a tragedy--the death of a pregnant grand-daughter. Miraculously, doctors saved her unborn baby. A couple of nights later, the tragedy on my mind, I went to bed and had an unusual and fantastic dream about this tragic, newborn baby. I got up early the next morning to drive my son to a basketball camp. I like sleep and was anxious to get back home and sleep until the other kids woke me up a couple of hours later (it was Saturday, after all). But in the mile or so from the school to my house, inspired by the previous night's dream, a story began to form in my mind.
Instead of going back to bed, I sat down at the computer and began writing--first the dream, then character descriptions, a scant outline and a few setting ideas. A couple of hours later, I had enough of an idea that I couldn't wait until Monday, when the kids would be in school and I'd have four uninterrupted hours to write.
The story became "Gifted." It came to me in a way nothing ever had before. I couldn't write fast enough. Thoughts and ideas came at a pace I could hardly keep up with. Every day that week I wrote. The weekend of no writing was hard. I couldn't wait to find out where the story was going. It felt like the story was being given to me a day at a time. A piece at a time.
I emailed my "dailies" to my parents and sisters. Veronica read them each day after school. Every day they wanted more. They'd read and then we'd talk. It was motivating and exciting to be writing something others were enjoying and feeling.
My class told me to admit I was an author. I don't know why that was such a challenge for me. I was writing. I'd written books (I had rejection letters to prove it) and I regularly had people ask me what I do, yet it was almost impossible for me to say the words. Then one day in the reading material for my class it said something like this:
If you can't say you're an author, you probably aren't, and there's a good chance you never will be. An author writes and isn't afraid to admit it. Whether you're published or not, if you're an author, say you're an author.
I can distinctly remember the first time I told someone I was an author. I felt like a phony. I was so embarrassed. I hoped they wouldn't ask any more questions, but of course they did. So I told them I'd written a novel and some children's books, but hadn't found a publisher yet. They thought that was great. (At least they said they did. They may have been rolling their eyes as they walked away.)
A major move, a few years and many revisions and submissions later, I'm an author. Yesterday I was offered a publishing contract for "Gifted" and today I had a wonderful visit with an editor who will be working with me on a few revisions. "Gifted" is going to be a real book. People are going to have a chance to become acquainted with Anna, Susan, Brent, and Kelsey.
Ahead of me lies the business end of things that I know almost nothing about. I will have to learn.
But for today I just want to say that I'm an author.